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Child birth classes

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Today my OB told me to start seriously thinking about taking childbirth classes, and that she highly recommends them, especially being a first timer. I don't want to take them. I'm doing my own research, reading books, and everything else I can get my hands on about birth and labor, so I feel I will be well prepared for this. I really don't want to sit in a room with a bunch of other pregnant women doing those stupid "hoo-hee" breathing exercises. In addition to that, I was reading over the pamphlet of the classes the hospital provides, and it says to bring your birth partner with you. Well, my birth partner is my husband, and he's away in the Army and its possible he won't even be back in time for the birth, so I would have to attend them alone, and I'm really dreading the moment I walk in, and I'm the only woman there without a support person

My question is, being a first timer, are the classes actually that beneficial? Would they tell me things I can't look up for myself? Has anyone here been a first timer and not done any formal classes and been fine?

The single thing I can think of that would be beneficial to me taking the classes, is you get a tour of the maternity ward, and I've never been there, so I would like to know where I'm going to be and all that.
post #2 of 15
I'm pregnant with number three, and I have yet to take a birth class. I've been fine. However, if at all possible, I would see if you can get a friend or family member to be your back-up birth partner in case your dh doesn't make it back in time. It's so helpful to have someone there for you.
post #3 of 15
there's really only one kind of class i'm interested in taking, and if i can't find a teacher near me, i'm just going to do the home study.

i'm sure you know what would work best for you! i'm a first time mom myself, and thought we might meet people we like, but i wouldn't take a class i wouldn't like!

if you can't have a friend or family member with you, are you thinking of hiring a doula?
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, if my husband can't make it to the birth (and I'm REALLY hoping he does) I'm planning on having my sister there (she's had 2 kids, one with no pain meds), but she lives 2 hours from me, and wouldn't be able to come to the classes.
post #5 of 15
You should be able to find private classes outside the hospital if you want to take them. There are many, many different methods. We chose to take Bradley classes with our first, even though we were homebirthing, and yes, I believe they did help.

You may be interested in this one http://www.givingbirthnaturally.com/...education.html which is all online and self-paced.
post #6 of 15
Originally Posted by sonicfrost View Post
My question is, being a first timer, are the classes actually that beneficial? Would they tell me things I can't look up for myself? Has anyone here been a first timer and not done any formal classes and been fine?
Well, it definitely depends on the class! I took two hospital-based childbirth classes with my first. They were orientation sessions, really, rather than education. I was told when I would get an IV, when my doc would break my water, when I would get an epidural, etc. I wasn't told benefits/risks/alternatives so that I could make my own decisions. I was, however, told repeatedly that my doctor "wouldn't do anything that wasn't safe".

So, yeah, a hospital class isn't worth much, imo. Out-of-hospital birth classes, however, could be quite useful to you, especially if you're wanting to be more informed and/or to get tools that will help you have a more natural birth experience.

Here's a chart to help you figure out what option (including self-study at home, as you've been doing) may be best for you:

post #7 of 15
I just had my first baby at home without any classes! I did fine. Like you, I read alot (and watched Youtube videos) but I even stopped doing that once I got closer so that I wouldn't get too intrenched in how my birth 'should' go.

I really liked meeting other pregnant women at my prenatal yoga class, though. If you can't swing that- you could check out a La Leche meeting just for some support. They welcome pregnant mothers and they're free!

Women have birthed babies even when they are passed out, you don't need a class to tell you what to do. Your body knows how to birth. You'll do great. Good Luck!
post #8 of 15
sonicfrost, i'm attending my sister at her birth, but also live too far away to do a class with her. she asked me to read "the birth partner" by penny simkin. it's been great for me to prepare for attending her, and also for thinking about my own birth.
post #9 of 15
I did Bradley classes and loved them. I felt I learned a little from the class that I didn't know from my own extensive reading, but more so enjoyed meeting with the other couples and sharing about our pregnancies. I'm still friends with a couple of the women I met there. My instructor was also a great resource in helping me find a new midwife when I needed one (my first was not so midwifey), a doula, and gave me specific exercises to try when I had different issues.

Oh yeah, and we never did hoo-hee together.
post #10 of 15
I would not take a hospital bith class. Waste of time (and sometimes money), IMO.

When i was pregnant, I probably read 50 books. The one I found most practically helpful was the Bradley book, though every bit of info is good.

With this baby, I might actually look into a Bradley class (or some other natural birth class)-- but only because I think it might be fun. My good friend took one, and they offered all sorts of good info *including* anti-circ info and breastfeeding support--which I wouldn't mind hearing, anyway.

post #11 of 15
You should be able to get a tour of the maternity ward without taking a class. I think my hospital offered them on a mothly basis, so you just call & reserve your slot. I think it's worth doing so it's not a totally strange place to you. You know what is available to you (Birth balls? Squat bars? a CD player? Stability balls? etc.)

Originally Posted by femalephish View Post
you could check out a La Leche meeting just for some support.
Good idea! In my area, the only LLL meeting in a reasonable driving distance is during work hours, so I can't attend. But I hooked up with a great AP Moms group through the website Meet up (We moved to a Yahoo Group).

Originally Posted by femalephish View Post
Women have birthed babies even when they are passed out, you don't need a class to tell you what to do. Your body knows how to birth. You'll do great. Good Luck!
I don't agree with that. While it's true our body knows how to birth, you DO need to take steps to get prepared in order to maximize your chances for the best outcome. That's the thing about Bradley training - you get PREPARED to birth with good nutrition & exercises. You probably can learn most of it through books & videos, but you do need to get educated, prepared, and train for it like you would any other athletic event!

Unfortunately... you have to have even MORE preparation when you're planning NCB in a hospital. Since, at least the majority of the time, odds are that the OB & nurses will not only not be helpful, but will be working against you. (Hopefully you have a fabulous doc, I know they are out there!!! But, as I said, odds are not in your favor.)
post #12 of 15
Definitely take a maternity tour so you know which door to come in and can sort of know what the environment will be like, hospitals offer those separate from birth classes.

I'm taking a hospital birth class. I don't think I will get a whole lot out of it (except to sort of know what the hospital considers standard) as I have been researching a lot, but DH will. He has done some minimal research on his own online, but not enough to know what to expect and while I don't think the hospital class will be perfectly inline with my feelings on birth, it is going to be much better than any impressions he has gotten from movies/TV about birth
post #13 of 15
I'm research girl. I've read a lot and have very crunchy friends. I still got a lot out of the childbirth class. The hospital we're using has a rep for being good about natural childbirth so I've found the classes they offer to be unlike the horror stories I've heard about other places. We took their mainstream class because of timing issues and it was a lot crunchier than I expected. Epidural didn't even get mentioned until the end of the first of two days and only because someone asked. They emphasized some things that might help with breathing but didn't wed us to any one method. (I found the practice breathing relaxing). Lots of risk/benefit when it came to the interventions part of the class.

We're also taking this hospitals natural childbirth class but we've only has one class so far. It doesn't sound like any hosptial class I've heard before. Most of the teacher's criticism has been for the baby factory up the street but she seems comfortable occasioanlly dissing the hosptial that employs her and reminding us to ask the staff lots of questions.
post #14 of 15
If you can get to non-hospital non-public health classes that is probably better. OTOH sometimes a hospital class gives you the lowdown on what to expect for routine procedures etc that you won't get from a hospital tour.

In general, a good class is worthwhile - practicing your management techniques can be really helpful, especially if you tend to be a brain-oriented rather than body-oriented person.
post #15 of 15
I think that a class (even home-study) can be helpful for managing labor. I felt very informed about everything and did all my research about birth and didn't feel like I needed a class. I took one anyways because I wanted dh to be in the class and learn what I already had (we took a Bradley class).

For my next birth, I'm going with Hypnobabies home-study program to help me be more prepared during labor. All my research and information about natural birth and interventions and what not didn't really help me through labor. While I think I did fine, I would like to feel a little more on top of things next time.

I agree that hospital offered classes probably aren't all that helpful.
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